Thursday, July 4, 2013

Ignorance = hate, in its various forms

Yesterday as Guillaume and I were making our way to one place I hang out at most of my free days now, we came across a group of four men who were talking among themselves, happy, laughing. That small bunch was heading in our direction, i.e., the direction of the road, and we were going in the opposite, a collision course. I had to but look at them closer as they appeared different. Most Mongolian men of their age don't go around laughing, and are definitely not as fit as they were. I wasn't wrong: as they got closer and I heard them, they were Chinese. Given the abundance of new constructions going on in that area, in most probability they were Chinese construction workers. As I looked from one to another, I saw them meet my gaze for a fraction of a second and avert their eyes quickly, or look down, or even look away. Their eyes made me aware that externally (my hair) I do resemble those ignorant, hateful people who go around bashing anyone they perceive to be un-Mongolian, but with a friend who was non-Mongolian by my side, wouldn't they have known that I was not one of those unconscionable people? That if I was a racist ultranationalist, I wouldn't even be friends with foreigners? Which reminded me of the earlier in the day conversation I was having with a friend who is back visiting home from the US about what constitutes Mongolianness, who defines it as what. It's all about ignorance. Give people information, teach them healthier ways to question and criticise, there shall be no violence in any form. It's all about power, and the power, in this day and age, is all about information. Deprive people of this, you will have what we have -- increasingly insular ultranationalistic sentiments nation-wide, fostered and promoted as a matter of state policy, blind eye turned towards non-Mongolians being beat up or even killed. It's time to recognise hate, hate speech and hate crimes for what they are, time to make the society safe for everyone. Start with the criminalisation of hate, whether directed at anyone perceived as non-Mongolian, or anyone perceived to be non-conforming to the notions/definitions of what Mongolianness is.

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